Adam Chernoff: Waiting For The Right Price - NFL Week 10

7 min

I went to a casino auction this week at the old Edgewater Casino in Vancouver, Canada. It was a bloody interesting experience. I was one of the first bidders in the building and I was blown away by the huge empty space littered in gaming tables.

Unique to a casino setting, few people in attendance were willing to part with their money. At one point six blackjack tables were offered for $25 each. I sat there thinking about all the fun that could come from owning six blackjack tables, then I remembered I have a wife and chose not to bid.

A few hundred lots into the auction, sixty-three red valor poker chairs went up for sale. Nobody bid.

The auctioneer dropped the price dumbfounded,


“A buck…?”

The few of us in the crowd bidding looked at each other and chuckled. Sixty-three chairs for a dollar? After a pause of silence, one guy in the back stood up and raised his bidding paddle.


What in the world was the guy going to do with sixty-three red valor poker chairs, I wondered?

The thought stuck with me throughout the day. I got a few good laughs out of it. Then it hit me; this is the same thing that I do as a bettor.

My life depends on buying a team at a price nobody else wants. Just as the buyer chose to deal with the headache of sixty-three chairs, I choose to deal with underperforming football teams. This is where pricing disparity occurs and value presents itself. Case and point in Atlanta this week.

The Falcons performed at a historic pace last season. The team did not have a chance to duplicate their efforts this season. Regression was inevitable.

Many bettors knew this and were willing to accept it prior to week one. As predicted, the Falcons market price started off sky high and came back down to earth in a hurry. Entering week ten of the regular season, almost every bettor is now willing to write them off.

What makes this an interesting proposition to me is after investigating further, I have come to learn that the Falcons are performing at a similar rate to last season. It is just the results that are not following in place.

The Falcons currently rank first in the league in Net Yards Per Play. This season Atlanta has gained an incredible 115% of opponents average allowance per rush and 108% per pass play. The overall offensive efficiency of the Falcons is 111% and ranks fourth in the NFL.

What makes these numbers even more impressive is the fact that Atlanta has played the second most challenging compounding schedule (56.7% opponent win rate). Not only is Atlanta performing very well offensively, they are doing so against elite opponents.

On Sunday Atlanta catches their first break in over a month. The Falcons have a big advantage on the ground against Dallas a team that allows opponents to rush for 110% of their average gain.

Add in the fact that this game is on the fastest surface in the league, unfamiliar to the visitors, the Falcons speed and elusiveness out of the backfield should increase the advantage even more.

The total in this game has been bet down from 53 to 50 early in the week, and it is not injury related. Influential bettors are privy to this rush mismatch in favour of Atlanta and realise the simple game plan that can be employed. Steve Sarkisian needs a big win to save face after four losses in five games. This Sunday is the perfect opportunity for him to do so.

This game reminds me of the Pittsburgh Kansas City matchup a couple weeks ago. Pittsburgh desperately needed a simple game plan and a favourable matchup to get their star talent clicking together. The game plan against Kansas City was too simple for Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin to screw up and his players not to execute.

The same applies to Atlanta week. Pound the run, move up the field and open up the pass. The Cowboys can’t stop them.

Dallas is getting significant support from bettors in the market as the underdog. After multiple covers and a row, their value has reached a new high. As bettors keep fighting over each other and trying to bid up the Cowboys price, I will sit quietly in the back and raise up my paddle to make my bid with Atlanta at an extreme discount.

Atlanta Falcons -3. Going once, going twice, sold.